The country’s most senior family Judge Sir James Munby has criticised Darlington Borough Council for what he described as social engineering.
The local authority had made applications for care orders and placement orders in respect of a one year old child. Their plan was to place the child for adoption. The child’s mother had concluded that she was not in a position to care for the child but the child’s father argued that he was willing and able to look after his child.
Social workers assessed the father and decided that he was not capable of caring for his child because he was “immoral.” They based this on the fact that the father had sex with a 13 year old when he was 17, drank too much, had used cannabis and had briefly been a member of the English Defence League.
The judge stated that whilst the father was not the best of parents this did not justify the adoption of his child outside of the family. He reminded the local authority that the test for removal of a child is whether that child is at risk of significant harm and not parental morality.
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